I have come to the realization that I have a problem. It’s one I’ve lived with my entire reading life. From the moment I could read those silly Dick and Jane and Spot books I was addicted. The Oxford English Dictionary defines addiction as follows: The state or condition of being dedicated or devoted to a thing, esp. an activity or occupation; adherence or attachment, esp. of an immoderate or compulsive kind. I cannot stop reading. I cannot stop myself from buying or borrowing books. I cannot stop thinking of books. I have two shelves full of books that I have not yet read and yet the compulsion to acquire more is constant. Like an alcoholic at a bar I cannot safely enter a bookstore or library; I do not leave empty-handed. The urge is a strong one and I always convince myself that it’s just one book and I can stop at any time. The Urban Dictionary defines a bookaholic as someone who keeps buying books to add to a stack of unread books or someone who has a strong passion for and desire to read all the time, or someone who has a strange fetish for books. The diagnosis? I am a bookaholic.
If there is any possibility of gaining a book I will jump at the chance. I live in Brooklyn and occasionally people put out books they have eradicated from their shelves, deposited in a box with a note saying “Free. Please Take”. I cannot pass these up and have gained many books this way. One time I actually saw the person put the box out on their front step and I practically ran, dragging my young son half a block, to make sure I had first dibs. In this instance, I hit the jackpot: about ten almost new hardback copies of Terry Pratchett Discworld books! I stuffed as many as I could in my bag and carried the rest under my arms. Those books are still under my desk at work! [I’ve read some of them but I insist on reading them in order of publication.]
I constantly buy books, borrow books, sniff books (yeah, I know, it’s weird), I like to feel the texture of the paper, I always have a book and a spare in my bag (because you never know). If I do not have reading material I suffer from excruciating withdrawal, call it biblio-DTs. I take a book with me when I am on a date or out with friends, to lunch, to coffee break, to meetings, to a bar, and to the movies. People who know me well know that this is not a reflection upon them. They are my enablers. Anyone who isn’t just doesn’t understand me.
My sister says, “At least it’s a harmless addiction” but is it really? I would rather go without food than not buy yet another edition of Pride and Prejudice! Earlier today I stepped into a bookstore (I know I shouldn’t have but I had a gift card [see enabled; thanks Eva]) and purchased six new books. Six!! The cashier (hi Eric!) told me I always buy interesting books so you know I buy A LOT. And you know what? I’m not in the least remorseful. Nope, not at all. After all, it’s an innate biological need and I don’t really want a cure.
My name is Marilynn and I am a totally un-penitent bookaholic. It’s nice to meet you.Follow @LadyBibliophile
- a confessed bookaholic (myselftoday.wordpress.com)